The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) prohibits tobacco industry advertising practices that encourage underage teenagers to smoke, yet new research out of the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego has found that a 2007 marketing campaign for Camel brand cigarettes was effective in encouraging young girls to start smoking.
The study, led by John P. Pierce, PhD, professor of family and peventive medicine and director of the Cancer Centre's Cancer Prevention and Control Program, will be published March 15 in an early online edition of the scientific journal Pediatrics.
The research, part of a national study on parenting practices, involved 1,036 males and females who were 10 to 13 years old when enrolled onto the study. Between 2003 and 2008, scientists conducted five telephone interviews, which included questions about smoking.
The fifth interview was conducted after the start of RJ Reynolds' ''Camel No. 9'' advertising campaign in 2007.
As with earlier research, the new study showed that youth who had never smoked but who reported having a ''favorite'' cigarette ad at the beginning were 50 percent more likely to initiate smoking.
The number of boys with a favorite ad was stable across all five surveys. For girls, however, it was stable across the first four surveys, but by the fifth survey, which took place after the start of the Camel No. 9 campaign, the proportion of girls who reported recalling a favorite ad jumped by 10 percentage points, to 44 per cent. The Camel brand accounted almost entirely for this increase.